A Senate impeachment committee voted to put suspended Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff on trial in the full chamber for breaking budget laws, opening the way for her to be removed from office.
The 21-member committee voted 14-5 to try Ms Rousseff for allegedly doctoring government accounts to allow more public spending in the run-up to her 2014 re-election.
Her impeachment would mark the end of 13 years of rule by the left-of-center Workers Party.
Along with a string of corruption scandals, it has already set off Brazil's worst political crisis in decades as the country prepares to host the Olympic Games in the midst of a severe recession.
The Senate will vote next Tuesday whether to accept the charges against Ms Rousseff and begin the trial that should reach a verdict at the end of the month.
"The committee vote confirms not only that Ms Rousseff knowingly broke fiscal laws, but also that she was a dishonest administrator," committee member, Senator Ricardo Ferrao, told reporters.
Surveys by Brazilian media indicate that more than two-thirds of the senators favour removing the leftist leader, which would confirm interim President Michel Temer in her place for the remainder of her term through 2018.
Ms Rousseff has denied she broke budget laws and maintains she is the victim of a right-wing conspiracy to overthrow her government that advanced the interests of Brazil's poor.
She is accused of altering official budget figures and using funds from state-run banks to cover up the real state of Brazil's faltering economy as she ran for re-election.
Brazil's stock market and currency have strengthened since Ms Rousseff was suspended by the Senate on 12 May as investors bet on her removal and the confirmation of Mr Temer, who has outlined policies favouring private business.